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Laptop vs Mini-ITX

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  • Laptop vs Mini-ITX

    My plan has been to build a mini-itx system for a while now, but I got to thinking - why not pick up a halfway decent refurb'd laptop? Not to use the screen, but just to use as the computer. What's the downside, compared to a Mini-ITX system? It isn't cost...

  • #2
    The first downside that comes to my mind is expandability. With the mini-ITX system you at least get one PCI slot that and be expanded to 2 using a riser.

    Progress: On hold while I pay off my new PowerBook :D
    Part List:
    VIA MII10000 - 512MB - 20Gig 2.5" - Rikaline 6010 - 7" Lilliput - CNX-P1260 - Alpine 4ch Amp - 4 Gauge wire and fused distrobution block.

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    • #3
      Yeah but with a laptop you can have it plugged into ACC line to boot up and get power so when you turn the key to off the Laptop then runs on the battery power which you can set windows to shutdown or hibernate when using battery power

      It all depends what you need the Laptop has USB and 90% of the Carpc stuff you would add would use USB the only think that i can see a PCI slot use for is for a new video card which i dont think you need if your not going to run doom3 on the laptop
      CarPC Status:
      GPS: 99%
      Hardware: 99%
      Software: 92%
      Case Install: 99.9%
      Dash Install: 100%
      Car Install: 72%

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      • #4
        Originally posted by NiN^_^NiN
        Yeah but with a laptop you can have it plugged into ACC line to boot up and get power so when you turn the key to off the Laptop then runs on the battery power which you can set windows to shutdown or hibernate when using battery power
        Is that safe though? I've been eyeballing using my laptop as a temporary solution until I figure out everything else, and I was thinking of an inverter plus the brick from the laptop. It's clumsy, but I don't think you can use straight ACC juice into the laptop. Most of the laptops out there use regulated 16-19V from the brick.

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        • #5
          You don't use the household "brick" to power the laptop... You get an Auto/Air adapter
          for your laptop which allows you to plug it into 12volts and power the laptop.

          That is what I use and it works great.

          Here is a link to a name brand for aftermarket auto adapters... Lind
          CarPuter: Dell P3-500 Laptop; D-Link WiFi; Deluo GPS; D-Link Radio; iMac DVD w/ ide2usb
          Audio: Audigy 2 NX; Kicker KX700.5 amp; 20w center amp; Kicker L7 10" Sub
          Display: Lilliput 7" TouchScreen
          CarPuter Install

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          • #6
            Targus

            Targus also make a car power pack for laptops.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Squid
              You don't use the household "brick" to power the laptop... You get an Auto/Air adapter
              for your laptop which allows you to plug it into 12volts and power the laptop.

              That is what I use and it works great.

              Here is a link to a name brand for aftermarket auto adapters... Lind
              Good idea... I forgot about those. I actually looked into one not that long ago, but all the ones I found were as big as the brick on my x31 (which is really tiny). I suppose I could cut the cable and put an inline fuse or something...

              Yet another item to the never-ending list of things to buy for a Car PC project...

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              • #8
                About the only thing i can think of is that with a laptop you are stuck with the one video card. If it isnt very good, or if it doesnt do TV-out well (incase you use a composite screen), you are SOL. With an Epia you can at least put a PCI video card in...

                Everything else that you can get PCI you can get with PCMCIA though...

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                • #9
                  how would you install the laptop? or would you just strap in a case like a lot of other people and not try and make it look oem at all??
                  Jan Bennett
                  FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

                  Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mookie
                    The first downside that comes to my mind is expandability. With the mini-ITX system you at least get one PCI slot that and be expanded to 2 using a riser.
                    I don't think expandability is an issue. I'm using a laptop and I have all these USB components:
                    • gps
                    • rm-x2s remote (joystick)
                    • mini keyboard
                    • touchscreen
                    • microphone
                    • card reader
                    • audigy2 nx
                    • dvd/cdrw
                    • gprs (cellphone)

                    Originally posted by Red GTi VR6
                    how would you install the laptop? or would you just strap in a case like a lot of other people and not try and make it look oem at all??
                    I have mine installed permanently under the passenger seat. I used to have all my wires in the glove compartment but I recently rewired my stuff and now my inverter is in the trunk with my amps. All my power bricks (at least 5) are under the driver seat. Ikea has some type of bag for cable management which I used to hold the bricks and power strip.

                    I'm using a relay circuit for power up and a PAC TR-7 (universal trigger module) for shutdown/hibernate.

                    At first I also thought that this laptop setup would be temporary but it's been running pretty stable and I don't really have any reason to switch.

                    00 Galant
                    armadaE500 P3-660 320M 20G, lilliput, audigy2NX, slim/slotLoad dvd/cdrw, cardReader
                    sony rm-x2s, bu303, xmDirect
                    xpPro sp2, frodoPlayer 1.09, iGuidance 2.0, custom voiceRecognition
                    custom shutdownController

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                    • #11
                      that's all fine and dandy, but I never suggest running ANYTHING under the seat....

                      think about it....where is the dirtiest spot in your car? What gets moved around the most? where do your passangers put their feet all the time.....and I don't care what kind of friends you have.....it's not their car/carpc....they won't take care of it the same way they would if it was their own...when you spill a drink, where does it always end up, when you drop a french fry, where does it always end up?

                      there are a ton of reasons why installing components under the seat is a bad idea, but I regress....some people just simply don't care.....

                      this is NOT something I recomend....=]
                      Jan Bennett
                      FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

                      Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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                      • #12
                        I've just bought a Compaq Evo N600c which I plan to use as a CarPC. It has composite video output and turns out quite well on my TV, I dont know how it'll look on a lcd yet.

                        Is it possible for me to extend the wiring so as to use the monitor in a different location to the body of the laptop?
                        MPr3Lude!

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                        • #13
                          I think this might have been discussed in the LCD forum on here.....but honnestly, your best bet - so as to not get this thread off topic, is to just start your own thread over in the LCD forum asking the same qxact question....you will get more responses and won't be flamed for getting a thread off topic....lol
                          Jan Bennett
                          FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

                          Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sorry I thought this may have been an addition to the Pros of using a laptop over a mini-itx being that you have a perfectly usable screen if you wish to use it - there are also other items such as the touch pad and small keyboard which may be used... Also the small cd drive comes to mind.
                            MPr3Lude!

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                            • #15
                              Even though I'm using an mini-ITX based solution, I still think a laptop might be a better solution in many cases. A good performing used laptop with a dead LCD and good battery can easily be configured to do most everything any mini-ITX system can do (except uber video if you want it). Moreover it does a few things out of the box that are add-ons to a mini-ITX system. Ultimately, it's up to you as both are good choices to start your system.
                              2004 4runner

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